Orlando Magic Blog

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Van Gundy wants to see some defense!

MAGIC SUMMER LEAGUE:The Hills' Orlando exodus gives J.J. Redick a shot to prove himself after last season's disappointment.J.J. Redick may have earned his reputation as a shooter -- one of the finest in college basketball history -- but that's not what new Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy wants to see this week.He wants to see if Redick can defend.For the Magic, that one topic might just become the single most important element of the 2007 Pepsi Pro Summer League that begins today at RDV Sportsplex.The Magic will be playing five games in the next five days, joining the Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets and Indiana Pacers, all using this one-week league for a closer, more detailed look at their younger players.Because of space limitations, the games are closed to the public, but three games each day can be seen on a live video webcast available at OrlandoMagic.com."I've told J.J. I'm not interested in what his numbers are. If he averages 30 points, it won't change my opinion of him. Same if he averages four points and shoots 15 percent," Van Gundy said Sunday after practice. "I want to see him make progress as the week goes on in terms of his defensive mentality. I want to see how he responds to the challenge of defense."The Magic have a 15-man lineup that includes only Redick and forward James Augustine from last year's roster. Both will be going into their second season. Also on the Magic is center Marcin Gortat of Poland, a second-round draft pick from 2005 who has been playing in Europe.Power forward Milovan Rakovic, the Magic's 2007 second-round pick from Serbia, is unlikely to play after he sustained a hip injury Wednesday during a workout at RDV Sportsplex the day before regular practices began.The team, composed mostly of young free agents, has been practicing together since Thursday. Rakovic has participated only in the lighter, non-contact parts of the practices."It's pretty simple for me. I want to watch the two guys we have [Redick and Augustine]. Obviously I want to get a look at Marcin because we have his rights. Those three are our priorities here, probably in that order," Van Gundy said. "Then you want to see if there is anyone else who might be able to help us."The Magic are one team that might be looking for significant help from different sources before next season. Guard/forward Grant Hill is expected to sign with the Phoenix Suns this week. And free-agent power forward/center Darko Milicic also is expected to be playing elsewhere next season.The Magic have committed most of their salary cap room to free agent Rashard Lewis of Seattle. A good showing from Gortat or Augustine this week, particularly with the Magic's need for at least one more front-court player, could lead to a roster spot in the fall.The search for talent won't be restricted to this league. Magic assistant general manager Dave Twardzik will be watching the Las Vegas Summer League.Other notables expected to play in the Summer League here this week include guard Raymond Felton and forward Adam Morrison from Charlotte, guard Thabo Sefolosha, center Martynas Andriuskevicius and forward Tyrus Thomas from Chicago, and guard Orien Greene (Miami).First-round draft picks include Daequan Cook (Miami, Ohio State) Sean Williams (New Jersey, Boston College) and Jared Dudley (Charlotte, Boston College). Joakim Noah (Chicago, Florida) is injured and won't play.There will be three games each day, with the first starting at 3 p.m. On Friday, the games will begin at 11 a.m. The rules also have been altered to include four, 10-minute quarters. The six-foul disqualification has been waived.The absence of Hill this season might provide Redick with a good opportunity for playing time if he can impress Van Gundy with his defense. Redick, the highly touted shooter from Duke, hardly played his rookie season under former coach Brian Hill. He missed summer camp last year and much of fall training camp because of injuries."I already know he can help us offensively. I know he can put the ball in the basket and make plays,'' Van Gundy said. "I have great confidence in that. I just want to see how he does at the other end."

4 Comments:

  • At 10:17 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Intro,you made some points about JJ the other day that i read and never had a chance to comment on. First ill say i agree with you about JJ that if given the chance he may make us all shut up about our two guard position. But i disagree that we dont give him the respect of being able to start and play the position effectively because he's a "white boy". To me he doesnt get the respect because he's a shooter point blank. Even if he was an african american kid or even a player from over sea's,if they had the same attributes and question's of the unknown(because we dont really know what JJ can do thanks to bsh)as JJ we'd be thinking the same of them,you yourself described JJ this way:"But since he’s labeled as an un-athletic, slow, lacking defense white boy, people seem to be lacking faith in what this guy can do." Intro,you throw those attributes(unathletic,slow and lacking defense)on an african american or a european and theyll find it hard to even make it into the league. My personal opinion is that nobody takes SHOOTERS seriously defensively because they shoot so well they dont expect for them to be great defenders at the same time,in the nba's history there were very few shooters who were also defensive specialists. With summer league play opening today,im going to be watching JJ very closely on both ends of the floor.

     
  • At 10:27 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Also,ill be watching augustine and gortat too,both these guys under this coach could give us some needed depth this year at both big positions,PF and C. I personally think one of those guys will become a diamond in the rough and give this team some good minutes during the season and be the big man that everybody thinks we should get through free agency. If otis doesnt go out and get two bigs (if we lose darko),then thats an indication he's thinking like me. We'll see this week how both perform,what if both became regular contributors? That would be like christmas coming early in my opinion.

     
  • At 7:15 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Yeah, it would be great if either Augustine or Gortat could step up and solidify the backup PF spot.

    I'm rooting for Augustine; I watched him play many games for Illinois, and he was a big part of their 2005 NCAA team that lost to NC in the championship. He's a good rebounder and can score too. He just has to work on staying out of foul trouble.

     
  • At 7:20 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    As far as Redick goes defensively, I'm not too worried. From what I saw last season, he always hustled on the defensive side and did a decent job of sticking with his man.

    True, the Magic didn't get him for his defensive ability, but I believe he's better defensively than a lot of people think.

     

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